Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the man who, according to Machiavelli, was the last of the Five Good Emperors. Marcus Aurelius, 121 to 180 AD, has long been known as a model of the philosopher king, a Stoic who, while on military campaigns, compiled ideas on how best to live his life, and how best to rule. These ideas became known as his Meditations, and they have been treasured by many as an insight into the mind of a Roman emperor, and an example of how to avoid the corruption of power in turbulent times.

The image above shows part of a bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius.


Simon Goldhill

Professor of Greek Literature and Culture and Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge

Angie Hobbs

Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield


Catharine Edwards

Professor of Classics and Ancient History at Birkbeck, University of London

Producer: Simon Tillotson

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